Explore the most popular trails near Epworth with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking

nature trips

walking

birding

views

dogs on leash

forest

wild flowers

camping

wildlife

backpacking

river

Epworth, Georgia Map
VIEW FULL MAP

It is completely overgrown! Not knowing all the other trails were closed we decided to checkout Horseshoe bend only to find that the majority of the trail is thorns. When we were finished her clothes were completely destroyed and my legs were scratched raw. We had planned to hike Beech Bottom which is a shorts/leggings friendly trail but I wouldn't even hike this trail with my boots and thickest pants. You can't take more than a step before having to liberate yourself from a bush which makes for a physically and mentally exhausting hike.

Trail was good even with all the blow downs from past storms. The trail crews hadn’t made it all the way down Jacks River Trail so if you’re not confident in your ability to spot a trail when it’s not clearly marked I’d suggest maybe avoiding this one alone. The river wasn’t high at most thigh deep in some spots and I’m only 5’9. Overall great overnight trip and will repeat in the future.

This was a short hike with a bushwhack to the summit of Cowpen Mountain and back. Long forest/service road drive to the trailhead at Three Forks Mountain. Still smells like fire in this area of the woods. Also, the bow hunters are out so be careful! I hiked East Cowpen Trail to the backside (north) of Cowpen Mtn where the ridge line comes down to the trail. At that point I turned back south and bushwhacked the ridge to the summit. Encountered only briers which were easy enough to go around or through. Pile of rocks is all there is to the summit. No views. From there I headed almost due East back to the trail and from there to the trailhead.

Not sure where the poster was at who said Jack's River trail was closed but my wife and I just went up Labor Day weekend. No signs at Dally Gap saying it was closed we hiked in 19 river crossing before setting up camp. yes the storms have drastically altered the trail. Between river crossings 2 and 3 is the most difficult. But after that it got a little easier. I always bring my machete since trails like this change all the time. the next day we made our usual light pack to go the rest way to the falls. unfortunately the trial was too obliterated and I just didnt feel like hacking through it. hopefully they get the crew out soon to do some clean up. even with out the falls it's always great camping trip.

Too many bugs and giant spiders in your face. Paths over grown. Went a mile in and turned around, couldn’t take it anymore.

As of 9/2/18 the Jacks River Trail is CLOSED due to storm damage. It's an amazing trail and hopefully they will open again soon but as of now, hike at your own risk. There are a lot of rangers in the area. If you do brave it, there is some serious dead fall (full tree piles) on the river side trails you will have to forge around. It's closed for a reason, so be prepared. Beech Bottom to the falls is also closed but see my review there for more info.

Significant storm damage has portions of these trails closed. On 8/11/18- 40+ volunteers cleared 8 miles of trails, this being a wilderness area means we can only use hand tools (crosscut saws and sling blades etc). Still some sections are closed due to damage from flooding. Reading below there is a misconception that forest service personal maintain these trails, the FS has only a few trail techs that cover large swaths of forest so they rely heavily on volunteer organizations to keep the trails marked and clear. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact their local ranger station or a local trail maintenance group, in this case Kevin Vasilinda from the FS teamed up with members of the Benton Mackaye Trail Association, Southern Appalachian backcountry Horsemen and the Conasauga trail volunteers to clear a lot of downed trees.

hiking
2 months ago

Great strenuous workout with sections of steep terrain. If you’re heading to Jack River Falls by way of this trail make sure to start your hike early.

Lots of downed trees makes the trail a bear to complete. Jack's River Falls was almost impossible to get to but fun nonetheless

hiking
2 months ago

Does anyone know the Hickory Ridge Trail is is still maintained? We looked desperately for it this weekend and never saw a signpost. We found what appeared to be an old trail or roadbed but it was hopelessly overgrown.

Super cool trail, but we went the day after a storm and, due to down trees, could not complete. Great wildlife spotting! Saw a bear in the water, a wild turkey and a beaver! Butterfly central at the Hickory Ridge campsites.

My first backpacking trip ever was on this trail around 1994, and my last time on this trail was 1997- I was hooked on backpacking because of this trail and the Cohuttas in general. 20 years later I took my 14 and 12 yo sons on this trail trying to recreate the wonder. No joy. Trail had changed and was unrecognizable. Overgrown and and unkept. Further, I discovered you could no longer camp between beech bottom and jacks river falls. This trip, other than the family bonding, was unpleasant. We left early to head to Red River Gorge.

We didn’t do the full hike because there were so many downed trees and a lack of trail marking that it was very difficult to follow the trail in some places. Because of this I would rated as a challenging hike rather than a moderate hike. We did not see any bears. Wildflowers were starting to bloom. I found that the second big River Crossing was super difficult- even with my hiking poles.(I’m pretty short and the river was high and was flowing very fast.). I’ll do this again in the fall when the water is lower and I will take a friend who has hiked it numerous times. I wish the forest service would remark the trail!

Amazing!!!! My first backpacking trip! We were a group of 10 which included experienced hikers that have done this trail many times and newbies like me. We started in the afternoon on Saturday, camped, hiked to the falls Sunday, camped, then hiked out Sunday morning.
We started at the Jack's River Western Trailhead as marked on this map and made our way to Beech Bottom and the falls, but took the Beech Bottom Falls trail back out to a second car we had parked there so that it wasn't a true out and back trail as marked on here. A car was put there in case we had to bail out because of the storm forecasts. We just had a lot of rain (and quite a bit during the trip at night) so the river level was pretty high. Most crossings were very manageable but nearer to the falls, and if you were to continue east past Beech Bottom along the trail (which was our original plan) the river was past waist deep (I'm 5'5'') and moving quickly. We changed our plans and camped a bit past the falls then double backed the next day to take the Beech Bottom trail out once we experienced how deep the river crossings were becoming. I definitely recommend bringing hiking poles to stabilize yourself while crossing. We heard from other groups that came the opposite direction that some crossings were so deep they had to swim across with their packs.
The falls themselves were amazing and we did the cliff jump after watching a group demonstrate that they were safe!!
The trail wasn't as maintained as other State Parks and National Parks that I've been to -- lots of downed trees to climb over and some overgrown plants but I think that really added to the wilderness feel and it didn't slow us down. We saw one copperhead sunning itself at a campsite but that was the only wildlife encounter. Lots of beautiful scenery, mushrooms, and the river itself made for a wonderful trip.

Overall, a great hike. Walking up Panther Creek right below the falls can be slippery and easy to lose site of the trail itself. The road leading to 3 Forks parking can be quite muddy after rainfall so plan ahead.

The trail is rated moderate but I guess that is when the water is low. But be warned, this hike has numerous river crossings. The water was waist high in most of the places and a bit deeper in some others. We made it to the fifth camping spot and had to turn around because we could not cross at this point. The water was simply too deep and fast for us to manage with backpacks.That was about 1/3 of the way in or 2.5 miles. I imagine this is a much different trail when the water is low and easily crossed. At this time of year there were plenty of snakes, but this is a gorgeous area and the river is a beautiful hiking companion. The trailhead is accessible after a long drive on a bumpy dirt road with lots of potholes. The area needs some attention in general. Campsites, signs etc. are in bad shape. To this point, we met a couple before the first river crossing looking for Jacks Falls(?) They got their information off the Internet somewhere, obviously not very well communicated. Plan for it and this is a great hike.

camping
4 months ago

This is by far one of my favorite spots.
Been going for about 10 years now. Unfortunately though it is overly crowded and the trial has changed over the years.
over night stay highly recommended!
Always check the water at the swimming hole before jumping in from the cliff!!!
#leavenotrace

trail running
5 months ago

This was an absolutely beautiful, remote trail run in the Cohuttas. Be mindful and study a map before you do it, as the trail isn’t very well marked, but so long as you study a map and know which direction the trails heading in, you’ll be fine! Pictures don’t do this gem justice.

great overnight hike

Fantastic trail. The river crossings were cold but great. There’s still a lot of downed trees from the fire, but moved as many as we could. The turn off from jacks river was hard to spot because of a downed tree and the sharp ascent, but we thoroughly enjoyed this trail. I think the whole loop is closer to 18 miles, but not certain. There’s also very little water on the ridge trails, so take advantage on the river and get what you’ll need.

Challenging. Took rough ridge to jacks to rice camp to cowpen. Can camp before upper falls river crossing and after lower falls crossing. Yellow sign marks no camp zone. A lot of burn damage/downed trees. There is some water on cowpen, at the stream shown before cowpen connects with hickory ridge, but it’s a steep scramble down to collect.

backpacking
5 months ago

Do not do the route listed by all trails!!!!!!! Do the loop from hickory ridge around to rough ridge. If you try to take horseshoe bend the trail just ends half mile before jacks river. I ended up bushwhacking down a 50 degree slope to get down to the river to my campsite. The forest fire really messed this area up. No cell service anywhere. Trekking poles are a must if you are backpacking. The forest rangers will not do anything for you. They are useless. No good water on all of the east cowpen side. Plus half of east cowpen trail is a dirt road. I was disappointed. Jacks river was beautiful. I repeat do not do the loop listed by all trails!!!!!!!!! Take hickory ridge to rough ridge loop. It is shorter but way less problems. Plus shorter distances to get to cleaner water. Only cell service is from the three forks trailhead to about 3 miles down the ridge.

Just got home from completing this one. Due to weather, we decided to do the river crossings first. Which meant we had to face an uphill penitentiary branch trail the next day. That was fairly strenuous.

Beautiful hike, and not overly difficult....moderate rating is accurate. The falls are amazing especially when frozen over. The forest road getting there is rough and potentially muddy. Drive a vehicle that’s not low to the ground. Four wheel drive is helpful.

Much easier than I thought it was gonna be! The rain held off and we had a great time...it was perfect!!

Great day hike. We didn’t plan for the length of the trail up to the falls, so our limited time put us having to leave before we were ready. Beautiful sounds of the flowing river greeted us each step. Lots of camping areas along the path.

backpacking
11 months ago

We used this trail to access the conasagua river trail - we were short on time and running a shuttle. In hindsight, I wish we would have just run the shuttle to the north terminus of the CRT because this trail was BORING! The first half mile is slogging up a hill thorough a trail overgrown with briar, then the next 2.5 mils are relentless downhill to the conasagua river basin. Not much to see, overgrown, and the last half mile of trail was hit hard by fires. We actually lost the trail in the burn area, so we bushwacked our way down to the river. There was one small spring for filtering water about halfway down the trail, we did not notice any good sites for tent camping, but one could string up a hammock in plenty of places.

Trail was great! We wore keens and didn’t have any issues, but couldn’t imagine this with Chacos(blisters) or hiking boots(removing and putting back on too often) in comparison. We made a 2 day trip out of it. Beginning and end are a bit faster moving b/c there aren’t a lot of crossings in the first 2 miles and the last mile or so. Had a few issues fining the trail but nothing worth panicking about. The trail is perfect for summer when you can stay cool as you hike.

Recommendations: 2 hiking sticks, keen water shoes, water filter to get fresh water

backpacking
Monday, October 02, 2017

I parked at the Daily Gorge lot which I would recommend knowing that after taking Old HWY 2, once on the gravel road and you arrive at the for, take a hard right to get to the lot. Once at the lot, took Hemp to Penetentiary. A fairly good hike, though mostly down hill and I would say moderate. Make sure in the beginning to look out for some beautiful views. Once you arrive at Jack's River, shortly thereafter there is a large primitive campsite. I really enjoyed the hike, though instead of a loop chose to go back up Penetentiary (more difficult), Hemp and return to my car the following day. Only saw wild turkeys, but lots of beautiful wild flowers. Note that prior to Jack's River there were no streams or water sources.

backpacking
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Although not physically strenuous, this hike is challenging due to all the river crossings. If backpacking, be aware that you will be fording through depths that can reach your chest over slippery surfaces. Trekking poles are a necessity, or grab a hiking stick alongside the trail on your way up. Attempting to swap from shoes to water shoes is pointless as you will spend all your time swapping shoes. Take footwear that can get wet and take some abuse. If planning an over-nighter, there are plenty of campsites along the river to filter water. You could always camp closer to the beginning of the trail, then hike to the falls as a day hike, then back down to your camp for the night. As you get near the Falls, camping is prohibited. If you want an easier hike to Jack's River Falls, take the Beech Bottom Trail.

Load More